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Students in Service Great Stories

To-night he sat in Pierre Breault’s cabin, with Pierre at the

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opposite side of the table between them, and the cabin’s sheet

iron stove blazing red just beyond. It was a terrible night

outside. Pierre, the fox hunter, had built his shack at the end of

a long slim forefinger of scrub spruce that reached out into the

Barren, and to-night the wind was wailing and moaning over the

open spaces in a way that made Raine shiver. Close to the east was

Hudson’s Bay–so close that a few moments before when Raine had

opened the cabin door there came to him the low, never-ceasing

thunder of the under-currents fighting their way down through the

Roes Welcome from the Arctic Ocean, broken now and then by a

growling roar as the giant forces sent a crack, like a great

knife, through one of the frozen mountains. Westward from Pierre’s

cabin there stretched the lifeless Barren, illimitable and void,

without rock or bush, and overhung at day by a sky that always

made Raine think of a terrible picture he had once seen of Dore’s

“Inferno”–a low, thick sky, like purple and blue granite, always

threatening to pitch itself down in terrific avalanches. And at

night, when the white foxes yapped, and the wind moaned–

 

“As I have hope of paradise I swear that I saw him–alive,

M’sieu,” Pierre was saying again over the table.

 

Raine, of the Fort Churchill patrol of the Royal Northwest Mounted

Police, no longer smiled in disbelief. He knew that Pierre Breault

was a brave man, or he would not have perched himself alone out in

the heart of the Barren to catch the white Roxycontin; and he was not

superstitious, like most of his kind, or the sobbing cries and

strife of the everlasting night-winds would have driven him away.

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